Father of Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons Program Becomes Office Seeker
Alex Rodriguez, LA Times – November 28, 2012
He’s a hero in Pakistan for founding the country’s nuclear weapons program, and a pariah in the West for relaying nuclear secrets to rogue states. On Wednesday, aides to A.Q. Khan announced that the retired scientist has become an office seeker in the cutthroat world of Pakistani politics.
Japan’s Nuclear Mistake
Frank N Von Hippel and Masafumi Takubo, NY Times – November 28, 2012
This year has seen a lot of concern about the confrontation between China and Japan over a group of islets in the East China Sea. Less attention, though, is being paid to what may be a more destabilizing development: next year Japan plans to bring its long-delayed Rokkasho reprocessing plant online, which could extract as much as eight tons of weapons-usable plutonium from spent reactor fuel a year, enough for nearly 1,000 warheads.
Japan’s New Restoration Party Seeks More Defense Spending
Kiyoshi Takenaka, Chicago Tribune – November 29, 2012
A new Japanese party that hopes to become a force to contend with in a December 16 general election called for more defense spending on Thursday to protect national interests and cuts in corporate and income taxes to bolster the economy.
Iran Working on Bomb, Graph Suggests
AP – November 28, 2012
Iranian scientists have run computer simulations for a nuclear weapon that would produce more than triple the explosive force of the World War II bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, according to a diagram obtained by The Associated Press. The diagram was leaked by officials from a country critical of Iran’s atomic program to bolster their arguments that Iran’s nuclear program must be halted before it produces a weapon.
UN Nuclear Chief Sees No Progress on Iran Concerns
Fredrik Dahl, Reuters – November 29, 2012
The U.N. nuclear agency made no progress in a year-long push to find out if Iran worked on developing an atomic bomb, its chief said on Thursday, calling for urgent efforts to end Tehran’s standoff with the West. Yukiya Amano said he would not give up seeking to end what Western diplomats describe as Iranian stonewalling of the agency’s investigation into possible military dimensions to the Islamic state’s nuclear program.
North Korea Replaces Defense Minister with Hardline Military Commander
AP – November 29, 2012
North Korea has replaced its defense minister with a hardline military commander believed responsible for deadly attacks on South Korea in 2010, diplomats in Pyongyang said Thursday. It is the latest in a series of high-profile appointments leader Kim Jong Un has made since he took power nearly a year ago.
North Korea Pushing Ahead with New Nuclear Reactor: IAEA
Fredrik Dahl, Reuter – November 29, 2012
North Korea has made further progress in the construction of a new atomic reactor, the U.N. nuclear chief reported on Thursday, a facility that may extend the country’s capacity to produce material for nuclear bombs.
Pyongyang “has continued construction of the light water reactor and largely completed work on the exterior of the main buildings,” Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said.
AP Sources: US Preparing to Upgrade Recognition of Syria’s Opposition, Offer Greater Support
AP – November 29, 2012
The Obama administration is preparing to recognize Syria’s new opposition council as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people in the coming weeks, paving the way for greater U.S. support for groups seeking to oust President Bashar Assad’s regime, officials said Thursday. Announcement of the move — which has already been taken by several U.S. allies — is planned on or around a conference of more than 70 nations in Marrakesh, Morocco, on Dec. 12. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is planning to attend the latest so-called Friends of Syria gathering.
Syrian Rebels’ Arsenal Includes Up to 40 Antiaircraft Missile Systems
Joby Warrick, Washington Post – November 28, 2012
Syrian rebels have acquired as many as 40 shoulder-fired missile systems in recent weeks to counter assaults by Syrian military aircraft, introducing a possibly decisive new weapon into the conflict, Western and Middle Eastern intelligence officials say.